Girls Gone ChildGirls Gone Child by Amanda Lamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her second book on parenting, Amanda Lamb continues her journey into motherhood when her two girls reach school age and start asking questions about everything from politics to race to religion. They also start noticing things and want to talk about them. Like when three-year-old Chloe starts pointing out that some people are larger than others, usually in a loud voice within earshot of the person in question.

“Mommy, that man is lar-” she begins. Before she can get the word out, I do a drop-on-a-dime u-turn, the best I can under the circumstances. Like a NASCAR driver I have the cart up on two wheels making the hairpin turn into the next aisle in record time, trying not to nail anyone in the process.

The book touches on many of the usual issues of parenting, including the kids’ fascination with body functions, negotiating the treacherous world of popular culture, exercising with kids and braving the hazards of illness with humor and sensitivity. As a working mom, Lamb juggles her professional life and her personal life, with sometimes surprising results. She was booted out of the carpool in part because the kids overheard her talking on the phone regarding her work as a TV reporter on the crime scene.

I mean my own kids are used to my switching back and forth between talk about blood and guts and “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” but most mommies don’t have this kind of life.

Although the book is often laugh-out-loud funny, at times Lamb also manages a tender reflective tone that many parents will identify with. She’s well aware that these days of childhood are numbered and makes an effort to step back from her hectic life and appreciate the sweetness of her children’s early years. As part of a two-parent family, Lamb occasionally gets frustrated with her husband, but she also appreciates his contributions to the family.

When a baby is born a father is born too. I can be a lot of things to my daughters, but a father is not one of them.

Many parents will appreciate the chapter on animals and pets. From the shelter to the backyard to the veterinarian, Lamb struggles to make peace with her children’s desire for pets and her own reluctance to deal with them. The section on “revenge poop” in particular gave me a good laugh and made me glad I’ve been able to avoid having pets that don’t live in a cage (we own three parakeets).

It’s impressive that even with a full-time-plus job, Lamb takes time to record the little day-to-day events and funny things her kids say. I guess it comes naturally to her as a news reporter to keep a notebook with her at all times and to record things as they happen. Of course, her kids are no dummies and they caught on pretty quickly to her writing things about them. When Mallory was six, she and her mother had a particularly vivid conversation about God in the car one day. Lamb grabbed her notebook and began scribbling notes at a stoplight. Suspicious, Mallory asked if she was writing about her and Lamb confessed rather sheepishly that she was.

“How about using your own thoughts,” she says, slumping back into the seat with a chip the size of Texas on her shoulder.

Because yours are a lot more interesting, I think to myself.

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait to see what they’ll come up with next (see below).

Amanda Lamb

Amanda Lamb’s new true-crime book, “Love Lies” (The Berkley Group) will hit store shelves in December 2011. It is based on a high-profile case in Cary, North Carolina, that she covered for WRAL-TV. Nancy Cooper was found dead in July 2008 a few miles from her suburban home. Her husband, Brad Cooper, said she went jogging and never returned. He was convicted of her murder in July 2008.

Amanda Lamb is a hard-charging veteran TV crime reporter for WRAL-TV in Raleigh. She writes in two completely different genres—true crime and parenting humor. Her true-crime work includes “Evil Next Door” (The Berkley Group) and “Deadly Dose” (The Berkley Group). Her parenting humor includes “Girls Gone Child” (CreateSpace) and “Smotherhood” (Globe Pequot). She’s currently working on her next parenting book, “I Love You, to God and Back” (Thomas Nelson), set for release in Spring 2012.

Find out more about Amanda Lamb HERE

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